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  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 598,966 515,000  481,400 12
GNI per capita
 US $ 530 480 470 160
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 021 - (31/10/05)

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will be the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Azad will be sworn in on 2 November, and will hold the post for three years.
He will replace PDP's Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who completed three years as the state's Chief Minister. In 2002, the two parties had agreed to share power on a three-year rotation basis after the elections produced a hung verdict. Congress General Secretary Ambika Soni said the decision to appoint Azad had been communicated to Sayeed, who assured PDP's support to the new government. Soni added that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had taken the decision after consulting the party leaders, including the legislators from the state. 

The Indo-US nuke deal debate on Capitol Hill is moving into an admittedly difficult second stage, with the spotlight set to turn on the formidable non-proliferation dimension. Analysts point out that there are any number of experts and political pundits in Washington ready to raise the red flag on the ground that the nuke deal will weaken the non-proliferation regime, spearheaded by the US all these years. While the Bush administration is confident of mobilizing Congressional support for the nuclear pact with India, the vocal non-proliferation community in Washington is pressing for "killer amendments" to the nuclear deal. Ending the production of fissionable nuclear material by India is at the top of the list of "improvements" being sought by the nuclear experts campaigning to undermine the nuclear pact signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last July. India, which expects the Bush administration to carry the day with the Congress, has refused to cap the production of nuclear material except in an multilateral treaty arrangement. More fundamentally, India has no desire to renegotiate the July pact under any potential pressure from the Congress. India has also asked the Security Council to act against both "recipients and sources" of proliferation. India's Ambassador to the UN, Nirupam Sen is believed to have stated that "turning a blind eye to supposed allies and targeting supposed adversaries can only undermine efforts to contain such weapons." US legislators also criticized the Bush administration for providing little information about a landmark proposal to share civilian nuclear technology with India, with one republican saying Indian authorities know more about the deal than their counterparts in the United States. Key legislators have also sent a letter asking secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to begin consultations with Congress. Congressmen Henry Hyde, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee was critical that the Congress seemed to think that there was a consensus on this issue while actually evidence pointed to the contrary. 

Reacting strongly to New Delhi's call to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to further investigate Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear network, Pakistan has held India responsible for promoting nuclear proliferation and arms race in the region. Pakistan has not completely turned down India's offer of aid. In some recent developments, after 15 years, telephone calls resumed between the two Kashmirs. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan and claimed over 20,000 lives alone in the country, Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff has tried to use this issue as a critical opportunity for solving the Kashmir dispute by giving self-government to the people in the region. The All-Party Hurriyat Conference leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had also urged the Indian government to open up all the seven road links on the two sides of divided Kashmir, which includes Kargil-Skardu, Uri-Muzaffarabad, and Tangdar-Tithwal, Poonch-Rawalakot, Jammu-Sialkot roads, and roads in the Naushera sector. India has welcomed the move to open the LoC, but it wants to wait for the formal proposals. India is yet to work seriously on travel documents and other details with the ministries of home and foreign affairs. India needs to adopt a very realistic approach on such issues or else things might get complicated. 

Russia is helping and supporting India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to seek waiver of curbs for transfer of civilian technology. President Vladimir Putin has expressed such desires to foster better ties with India. The President also pledged his country's support for India to get international restrictions on civilian nuclear technology transfers lifted. 

The government has put on hold the decision to divest ten percent of its equity in profit-making navratna BHEL. The decision will be kept in "abeyance" according to Congress General Secretary Ambika Soni. Earlier this year Finance Minister P.Chidambaram had proposed disinvestments as a way of financing social sector schemes. 
The India Stock Exchange, Sensex, breached yet another milestone after crossing the 8,800-point mark for the first time in history. The Sensex ended the day at 8799, up 102 points. The Nifty was up 33 points at 2663. The sentiment at Dalal Street was upbeat and buoyant drawing from robust FII inflows coupled with better-than-expected second quarter results. Aluminium, auto, banks, cement, engineering, fertilisers, FMCG, technology, infrastructure, media and oil PSU stocks attracted significant buying. 
Gains in pharmaceuticals, power, steel, sugar and textile stocks also contributed to the northward rally of the Sensex. Among index heavyweights, HDFC Bank and Dr. Reddy's Labs were the biggest gainers, rallying over three per cent. Maruti, Tata Motors, ACC, Bajaj Auto, Hindalco, L&T, HDFC and Wipro were the other key gainers. Mid-cap and small-cap stocks also made a smart comeback with both BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices gaining over one per cent. Four-wheeler and two-wheeler stocks also held on to gains on the back of robust September sales. Eicher Motors continued to be the outperformer on the counter after the company registered 10 per cent growth in commercial vehicles sales in September 2005. All the three frontline stocks - Maruti, Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra - clocked gains of over one per cent each. 
While Tata Motors has reported a 13.24 per cent increase in vehicle sales, Maruti clocked a 12 per cent rise in sales. Cement stocks traded firm with Prism Cement clocking gains of over two per cent. Shree Cements, India Cements and Grasim Industries also traded firm. Dena Bank was the biggest gainer with the scrip posting whopping gains of over 8 per cent. HDFC Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Andhra Bank, South Indian Bank, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank and Vijaya Bank also clocked considerable gains. Indusind Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Union Bank of India and UTI Bank were the other key gainers. Mid-cap technology stocks continued their good run with Maars Software and Hinduja TMT rallying over ten per cent. CMC, GTL, Kale Consultants, Pentasoft Technologies, Ramco Systems, Zenith Computer, SSI, Mastek and Aftek Infosys were the other key gainers at the counter. Essar Oil and IBP led the gains at the oil and gas counter with a surge of over 2 per cent each. GAIL India announced that it was keen on investing in exploration and production ventures and LNG liquefaction ventures in Australia. 

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India keen to promote trade with Pakistan

Indian Foreign Minister, Kunwar Natwar Singh, has said that trade normalization at a time when both India and Pakistan are in the midst of growth spurt has opened up immense opportunities for the private sector on the either side. He called upon the private sector to pounce on this opportunity for a better and prosperous future of the two nations.
Speaking to members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mr Singh called on businessmen to identify complementarities in the two economies and workout avenues of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two nations. Identifying potential fields of collaboration he mentioned agriculture, chemical, textile, engineering, hydropower, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, engineering, etc.
He said Pakistan could export cotton yarn, textile fabrics, surgical, sports goods and water coolers to India. India was also looking at import of electricity from Pakistan if it had a surplus, he added. The minister said India could meet Pakistan's annual demand of 100,000 vehicle tyres. "There is a lot of scope for cooperation in the services sector as well as in tourism, information technology, banking, aviation, etc," he said.
Mr Singh said that Safta would come into force from January 1, 2006 and expressed the hope that South Asian nations would gain substantially from its enforcement. Comparing the performance of Saarc with Asean (a far eastern nations' economic grouping), he regretted that over the last 20 years not a single project under Saarc could take off primarily for political reasons.
Responding to a question, the foreign minister said the Indian government was keen to promote trade and commerce. He said that India had unilaterally given an MFN status to Pakistan, lowered tariff barriers and was willing to look into non-tariff hurdles in the way of promotion of trade between the two neighbours.
He said India had formulated a negative list of items of trade with Pakistan. This implies that all items that are not on the list can be traded freely with Pakistan. Pakistan still has a positive list, which means that only items on the list are allowed for trade with India. Mr Singh called for negative list by Pakistan instead of a positive list of tradable items between the two countries.
Dispelling the impression of coldness of India towards Saarc, he said: "India is looking forward to the Saarc summit in Dhaka in November." He hoped that with the normalization of relations between the two countries, the contribution of the regional organization would also improve.
Mr Singh said that transit trade of India to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries through Pakistan remained a dream. He called upon the FPCCI to take up the matter with its government.
The Indian foreign minister saw Karachi as a future hub and commercial centre not only for Pakistan but for the whole region. He said direct trade between India and Pakistan would get a boost with the opening of road transportation and ferry service between Mumbai and Karachi and removal of non-tariff barriers.
He said direct trade through Attari-Wagah, Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Monabao-Khokrapar routes was likely to start soon. The Karachi-Mumbai ferry service, signing of shipping protocol and expansion of civil aviation service between the two countries would be other steps towards more trade and economic cooperation, he said.
Later responding to a question, Indian High Commissioner, Shivsankar Menon, said their embassy was making all-out efforts to facilitate business travellers. He assured that business visas would now be issued within 10 days, with no-police reporting status and with entry permission for as many cities as the applicant wish to visit. He mentioned that as against 50 visas in a month two years back, the embassy is processing 10,500 visas a month now.
Earlier, FPCCI President, Chaudhry Mohammad Saeed, welcomed the guests. He gave a number of suggestions to the minister to facilitate trade. He suggested that warehousing facilities for transit storage be made available at the Wagah Border for goods awaiting completion of customs formalities.


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